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Conversations with Sam Ciavarella

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sam Ciavarella.

Hi Sam, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I got sober four years ago because I had to. I was drinking myself to sleep or to tears practically everyday and it was affecting my work life and my personal relationships. I was a bartender at the time, so drinking at work wasn’t just easy it was encouraged. I spent many nights sitting in my car, hoping I was okay to drive from the valley back to Hollywood where I lived. My body was also giving up on me. An athlete all my life, I suddenly found myself out of breath if I exerted even the smallest amount of energy. I had put on weight and my skin was more acne-prone than it was when I was a teenager. I felt ugly on the outside which is a serious “no no” in this town. I decided to try a Whole30 elimination diet because a friend of mine was doing it and he looked incredible. The biggest elimination of Whole30 for me was alcohol. On January 2, 2017 I poured myself a final shift beer never considering it would be my last drink ever. That Whole30 changed my life. After the first week of absolute withdrawal hell, I noticed my body changing from the inside out. My sleep was better, my moods brighter, my skin clearer and finally, my body was leaning out the way I’d hoped.

In the middle of all this, I was going through a breakup from my boyfriend of the last two years. It serious blow at the time, but looking back – a necessary one. I was single, sober and on a new mission – to take back my mind on my terms. I started going to therapy and unpacking A LOT of baggage. Therapy helped me stay sober and realize that addiction isn’t a dirty word. I started reading every book on health and nutrition I could find and devoured countless hours of podcasts about holistic health and functional medicine. Soon, I craved more so I went back to school. I began online classes at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and graduated six months later. During my time at IIN, I started seeing my first clients, mostly friends and family who had been asking me health questions for months. I started feeling the same thrills I felt with clients as I felt when I was onstage. I forgot to mention – I’m a comedian! I also went to The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC, so combining the two worlds I love has always been imperative to me. As the self-proclaimed “health coach comic” it’s my goal to bring health and happiness to everyone who seeks it. I have been taking private clients for over two years and every time they crush their goals, I can’t help but beam with pride! I still perform by doing my own one woman shows or with my favorite theater company in LA, it’s Personal.

I also launched my business this year with my hilarious, inspiring and fellow-Hanson loving friend, Kate Orlando. We met doing storytelling shows and the second we first spoke it was over – we were destined to be friends for life. We share many of the same passions and loves, including coaching people to be their best self. Loud Health and Fitness was the culmination of our shared passion. On top of all this, I also currently find myself as a front line worker working with CORE Response. What initially started as a job where I facilitated people taking COVID tests has become a job where I am apart of the management team that is rolling out thousands of vaccines a day at Dodgers stadium! I am so grateful to be apart of such a significant moment in our lifetime and I couldn’t be happier to be helping people stay healthy and feel safe.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
No, I would say it has not been a smooth road. Recovery is oftentimes a very bumpy road. I have had incredible days and I have had days so low I didn’t think I could sink further. My first struggle was with my family. My getting sober was a strange concept for them so I was met with pushback. I had to learn not to take their comments personally and that their attacks were not a reflection of ME but rather the choice I made and that wasn’t my weight to carry. I also struggled with nightmares from drinking for the first few months of sobriety. I still have the occasional nightmare, but they are few and far between. The biggest hurdle has been dealing with imposter syndrome. I spent so much of my life as a “badass, big mouth chick from New Jersey” that I thought being a holistic health coach who’s sober and doesn’t like to fight with people anymore was weird. I thought I was losing “myself” when really I was just losing a lot of the anger and sadness I had been carrying around for most of my life. I am still a badass chick from NJ except with a lot more love in my heart.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a Certified Holistic Health Coach. To put it simply, I believe food is medicine and try to instill that same ethos with my clients. My specialty is women’s health and I have done extensive research on how to have healthy and happy periods! I am most proud of my clients who months after working with me still reach out to tell me how they are still living in the habits we created together and feeling incredible. What sets me apart from others is that I’m a comic and a health coach. They don’t sound like they go hand in hand but let me tell you – when you’re hearing that you need to make diet and lifestyle changes, I find it’s best to hear it coming from someone who can also make you laugh about it! I also don’t lead my clients through restrictions. No diets here baby! We work on building habits they can implement into their current routines so that they don’t have to stress out making sure their “being healthy” everyday – they’re just being healthy!

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
I have stage fright! I never let it keep me from performing or giving lectures but I legit have to take deep breaths and settle myself before I go onstage otherwise I’d be shaking like a leaf. Once I’m up there though, all systems are a go and you (and I) don’t even know I have stage fright!


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